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8 Signs Your Dog is Genuinely Happy


Ever wonder if you make your loyal pooch as happy as he makes you? Or wish he could reply to your loving greetings so you know exactly what’s on his mind?

Thankfully, it’s not as difficult as you may believe to figure out precisely what your dog is thinking. Veterinary behaviorists suggest that learning how to read your furry friend’s behavioral language is the key to interpreting how he truly feels.

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Consider these 8 signs your pup is genuinely happy:

1. His Whole Body Wags (Not Just His Tail)

Your dog’s wagging tail is a foolproof sign he’s feeling happy. When you come home from a long day at the office, are you greeted with a gently wagging tail? This relaxed movement is a clear sign he’s happy to see you. Or do you notice his tail wagging even more forcefully back and forth or in a swift circular pattern causing his whole body to wag along with it? That’s when you know he’s really happy to see you.

2. He’s Playful

Happy pups are playful pups. There are a variety of clear movements that show your dog is feeling playful. When he races over to you with a squeaky toy in his mouth, you bet he is ready for playtime. Playful behaviors that signify happiness include running in circles, jumping on you, and leaping and jerking around.

The one thing that indicates playfulness among all dogs is the universal “play bow.” Your dog’s play bow stance is the one in which he jumps into action with his forelegs planted on the ground and his hind legs extended behind him with his tailbone positioned upwards. Once you figure out what triggers your dog’s playful side, be sure to engage in that activity whenever you can to keep him happy.

3. He Gets a Good Night’s Sleep

Just like humans, dogs need a good night’s rest in order to maintain a happy mood and get through the day. Cheerful pups sleep for about 8 to 10 hours every night in alignment with your sleep schedule.

4. He’s an Early Riser

The happiest dogs wake up early and are ready to take on their day full of eating, napping, playing and enjoying walks. When he emerges from his bed in the morning, he is full of energy and ready to embrace your attention and join you for breakfast.

5. He Socializes

A definite indication of your dog’s overall happiness is how he interacts with others in his environment. Happy dogs facilitate pleasant interactions with the other pets in your home. A cheerful dog also enjoys playing with other dogs on his daily walks. His happiness becomes even more noticeable in the afternoons and evenings as you and your family return from work and your daily routines.

6. He Stays By Your Side

It is always a good sign when your pup wants to be in your proximity and follows you around the house. Even if your dog seems inattentive or is napping, if he is nestled close to you he clearly is happily enjoying your company. When your pooch cuddles up to you, he is showing affection toward you.

7. He Shows Relaxed Body Language

When everything about how your dog is holding himself suggests he is calm and collected, he is truly happy. His body appears completely relaxed with his eyes held softly in their round shape (think “puppy dog eyes”), his weight is evenly balanced on his four feet and his panting remains gentle. His muscles seem relaxed as his ears and tail are in their usual positions. A content dog’s muscles will appear relaxed and his whole body soft even when he is acting wildly playful.

8. He Smiles

Do you ever glance at your pup and think you might see a slight smile? Turns out, you’re not imagining it. When your dog is happy and at ease, his face muscles relax to a neutral position which can cause a smile to appear as the corners of his mouth turn upwards a little. His mouth may be resting either closed or slightly open with his teeth peeking through while panting.

If your furry friend demonstrates some (or all!) of these simple signs of happiness listed above, you can be certain he is enjoying life.


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